Her Majesty The Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck delivered the keynote address at the 54th session of the Commission on Population and Development that took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 19 to 23 April 2021.
Her Majesty’s keynote address was delivered via a pre-recorded video statement during the opening of the session on 19 April.
The Commission on Population and Development (CPD) monitors, reviews and assesses the implementation of the Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development. It contributes to the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The special theme of the session this year is “Population, food security, nutrition and sustainable development”.
Her Majesty The Queen Mother was invited to deliver the keynote by the Chair of the 54th CPD, Ambassador Yemdaogo Eric Tiare, in recognition of Her Majesty’s outstanding contribution to raising awareness and devising solutions to population issues culminating in Her Majesty’s selection as the individual laureate for the prestigious 2020 United Nations Population Award.
The session began with opening statements by Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy-Secretary-General of the United Nations; Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund; Qu Dongyu, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization and . Gilbert Houngbo, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development among others.
Her Majesty The Queen Mother acknowledged the numerous achievements in advancing women’s rights in the last 25 years since the ICPD such as nearly halving the maternal mortality rates, high rates of contraceptive use and expanded access to antiretroviral therapy. At the same time, Her Majesty highlighted the need to recognise the remaining challenges confronting women and girls which has been further deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Her Majesty called for bold and courageous initiatives to inspire innovative actions to promote rights and create a world where women’s equality is guaranteed, not granted.
Her Majesty emphasised that the theme of the session came at a critical time due to the profound global impact that the pandemic has had on health care systems, food security and gender equality.
Her Majesty shared Bhutan’s own experiences in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic under the dynamic and compassionate leadership of His Majesty The King. Lastly, Her Majesty encouraged the CPD to place women and girls dignity and compassion at the center of all responses and the need for global solidarity and leadership to address humanity’s greatest challenges.
The proceedings of the 54th session of the CPD were broadcasted live on UN Web TV.
The 54th session of the CPD closed 23April with the adoption of the report of the commission.